Fast Track Legislation Opposition Letter

April 21, 2015

Dear Representative/Senator,

We understand the misnamed Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (Fast Track 2015) bill has been introduced in Congress. It will apply to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and potentially, other trade agreements.

As participants in civil society – labor unions, environmental groups, community organizations, small businesses – we oppose NAFTA-style trade agreements that have cost the US, and Washington state jobs, increased income inequality, and contributed to stagnating wages. We urge you to take a position opposing Fast Track 2015.

We are in favor of trade, and take pride in exports from Washington State. But NAFTA-style trade policies have increased imports faster than exports, contributing to $11 trillion in cumulative trade deficits, loss of manufacturing capacity, substantial job loss, and movement of production to countries with low wages and weak environmental regulations.

Negotiations for TPP are being conducted in complete secrecy, without meaningful participation from civil society. The resulting provisions will worsen working conditions, and threaten policies for environmental sustainability. Moreover, Investor- State Dispute Settlement provisions allow transnational corporations to sue governments if economic and environmental policies such as minimum wage and clean energy programs lower their profit margins.

Congressman Dave Camp and 22 Congressional co-signers made a good point in their letter to Ambassador Froman in July 2104, calling for Trade Promotion authority well before the end of 2014. Their point was that TPA’s public policy value decreases as the negotiations approach conclusion. Their concern is even stronger now that TPP is 95% complete.

Another concern is the way trade agreements since NAFTA have shifted power relationships in favor of investors and global businesses and away from workers and communities. The IMF released a report in February, titled “Power from the People.” Its message is that bargaining power of capital and top earners is increasing, while the relative power of civil society is decreasing. TPP would consolidate those distorted power relationships as global norms. Language in the TPP is being defined by corporate interests, while civil society is kept at a distance. This is too big, too important, to rush through without a thorough and thoughtful process.

Jay Inslee, Governor of the most trade dependent state in the union, recently wrote to the USTR, saying provisions in TPP will limit his options as governor when he deals with health care and climate change. To him, the threat of those provisions outweighs any potential benefit.

The City Councils of Bellingham and Seattle also just passed resolutions opposing Fast Track for the TPP. They are concerned that Fast Tracking trade agreements will give them little or no opportunity to voice their concerns about these agreements that will affect jobs, the environment, and local policies.

Public sentiment has shifted against NAFTA-style trade policies. Negotiators have lost the presumption of trust, and frankly, they are losing credibility as well. The Obama administration faces a rising burden of proof. Voters see our neoliberal trade policies as just the global version of trickle-down economics; great for the 1% but bad for everyone else.

Promises of 21st century labor and environment provisions will also face public skepticism. The 20th Century promises were empty, and the 21st century versions seem not better.

We know the effects of past trade agreements. They affect the likelihood of jobs being offshored, they impact small businesses both when workers don’t have income to spend and when cheap products flood the market. Businesses committed to local communities, who want to keep production in America, are put at a disadvantage. TPP also casts a shadow over regional initiatives to deal with climate change, threatening green jobs and clean energy policies.

We urge you, as our elected congressperson, to take a stand in favor of the workers, our state’s businesses, the environment, and the safety of products that come into our homes and onto our tables. We rely on our Democratic congresspeople to stand with civil society and oppose Fast Track for the TPP. We urge you to do so.


King County Democrats
Rich Erwin, Chair

Main Street Alliance of Washington
Gerald Hankerson, State Director 

Mangrove Action Project
Alfredo Quarto, Executive Director 

Martin Luther King County Central Labor Council
David Freiboth, Executive Secretary 

MoveOn NW
Linda Brewster MoveOn Seattle MoveOn Kitsap MoveOn Clallam MoveOn Olympia MoveOn Portland

Musicians’ Association of Seattle, Local 76-493, American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada
Motter Snell, President 

Northwest Washington Central Labor Council
Mark Lowry, President

One America
Rich Stolz, Executive Director 

Pacific Coast Pensioners Association - International Longshore and Warehouse Union
Rich Austin, President

Philippine U.S. Solidarity Organization
Helene Lustan, Coordinator

Physicians for a National Health Plan Western Washington Chapter
Sarah K. Weinberg, President

Pierce County Central Labor Council
Patty Rose, Secretary Treasurer

 Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines

Professional Technical Employees, Local 17
Joseph L. McGee, Executive Director 

Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action
Robby Stern, President

Puget Sound Chapter, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
Ted Thomas, Chapter President

Puget Sound Sage
Rebecca Saldaña, Executive Director

Retired Public Employees Council of Washington
Maria Britton-Sipe, Executive Director

Sailor’s Union of the Pacific
Vince O’Halloran, Seattle Branch Agent

Service Employees International Union, Healthcare 1199
Diane Sosne, President

Service Employees International Union, Local 6
Sergio Salinas, President

Service Employees International Union, Local 775
David Rolf, President

Service Employees International Union, Local 925
Karen Hart, President 

Snohomish County Central Labor Council
Leonard Kelley, President

Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE 2001
Ryan Rule, President

Southwest Washington Central Labor Council
Shannon Walker, President 

Spokane Regional Labor Council
Beth Thew, President 

Teamsters 760
Leonard Crouch, Secretary Treasurer 

Teamsters Joint Council No. 28
Rick Hicks, President 

Teamsters Local 117
John Scearcy, President 

Teamsters Local 690
Val Holstrom, Secretary Treasurer 

Thurston, Lewis, Mason County Central Labor Council
Bob Guenther, President

Traditions Fair Trade Store
Dick Meyer, Owner 

Unite Here Local 8
Erik Van Rossum, President 

United Auto Workers, Local 4121
David Parsons, President 

United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 21
Dave Schmitz, President

United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 367
Denise Jagielo, President

United Steel Workers
Gaylan Prescott, President

United Steel Workers, Local 12-369
Dave Roberts, President

Mark Glastetter, Owner 

Wash Federation of State Employees, Local 843
Tim Earwood, President 

Washington Alliance for Retired Americans
Jackie Boschok, President 

Washington CAN
Will Pitz, Executive Director 

Washington Federation of State Employees, Council 28
Sue Hendrickson, President 

Washington Public Employees Union, UFCW Local 365
Kent Stanford, President

Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council
Lee Newgent, Executive Secretary 

Washington State Plumbers and Pipefitters
Randy Scott, Executive Secretary Treasurer 

Washington Young Emerging Labor Leaders (WA YELL)
Shaunie Wheeler, President 

Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation
Bruce Pruitt-Hamm

Wired Reality LLC
Michael Cozzi

Worker Center, AFL-CIO
harlie Best, Coordinator




Sierra Club Washington State
Kathleen Ridihalgh, Senior Organizing Manager 

Washington Environmental Council
Becky Kelley, President

Washington Fair Trade Coalition
Stan Sorscher, President; Gillian Locascio, Director

Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Jeff Johnson, President; Lynne Dodson, Secretary Treasurer

32nd District Democrats
Carin Chase, Chair 

350 Seattle
Lynn Fitz-Hugh, President; Emily Johnston, Vice President

36 District Democrats
Jeff Manson, Chair

Alay ng Kultura

Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 587
Paul Bachtel

American Federation of Government Employees, Local 3937
Steve Kofahl, President

American Federation of Teachers Washington
Karen Strickland, President

American Federation of Teachers Seattle Community Colleges, Local 1789
Tracy Lai and Kimberly McRae, Co-Presidents


Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers
Greg Pallesen 

Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers, Local 153, Longview
Kurt Gallow, President

Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers, Local 155, Port Angeles
Michelle Treider, President

Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers, Local 28, Sumner
Jeff Timm, President

Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers, Local 422, Usk
Jim LeBlanc, President

Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers, Local 5, Camas
Brian Anderson, President

Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers, Local 580, Longview
Jeff Hill, President

Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers, Local 633, Longview
Mark Slater, President

Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers, Local 69, Walula
Todd Schadler, President

Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers, Local 817, Seattle
Ty Kerby, President

Backbone Campaign
Bill Moyer, Executive Director 

Bayan USA Pacific Northwest

Blue Green Alliance – Washington State
Stephanie Celt, Washington State Policy Coordinator

Casa Latina
Hilary Stern, Executive Director

Church Council of Greater Seattle
Michael Ramos, Executive Director 

Climate Solutions
KC Golden, Senior Policy Advisor

Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador
Sean O’Neill, West Coast Organizer

Communications Workers of America Washington State Council
Gregg Sherwood, President 

Community Alliance for Global Justice
Heather Day, Executive Director

Community to Community
Rosalinda Guillen, Executive Director

Cozzowitz Corporation
Karen Moskowitz

Domestic Fair Trade Association
Colette Cosner, Executive Director 

El Centro de la Raza
Estela Ortega, Executive Director

Faith Action Network
Paul Benz and Ellie DeGooyer, Co-Directors

Gabriela Seattle

Got Green
Jill Mangaliman, Executive Director

GSAL-American Postal Workers Union, Local 28
David C. Yao, Vice-President

Inland Boatman’s Union
Terri Mast, National Secretary Treasurer

 International Association of Machinists, District Lodge 751
Jon Holden, President 

International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Motion Picture
Projectionists, Local 15
Sal Ponce, President 

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 191
Joe Lorenzo, Business Manager

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 46
Jim Tosh, Business Manager

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 48
Gary Young, Business Manager

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 73
Ken Brown

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 112
Pete Marsh, Business Manager 

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 125
Travis Eri, Business Manager 

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 76
Dennis Callies, President

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 77
Richard Johnson, President

International Longshore and Warehouse Union Puget Sound District Council
Dan McKisson, President

International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 23
Dean McGrath, President